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tv   NOW With Alex Wagner  MSNBC  September 4, 2013 9:00am-10:01am PDT

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the setting may have been international but the president's message was aimed at a domestic agenda. >> when bad stuff happens around the world, the first question is, what is the united states going to do about it? i do think that we have to act because if we don't, we are effectively saying that even though we may condemn it and issue resolutions and so forth and so on, that somebody who is not shamed by resolutions can continue to act with impunity. >> but if the white house has said that the president will act unilaterally shouldn't affect the dictate and that the choice to gain congressional approval was his and his alone, today the president pushed back on the notion that this is his responsibility to bear. >> i didn't set a red line. the world set a red line. the world set a red line when governments representing 98% of the world's population said the
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use of chemical weapons are abhorrent. my credibility is not on the line. the international community's credibility is on the line. >> that line of argument that, this isn't about president obama but instead reflects the will of the international community exploded with chuck hagel. >> key partners including france, turkey, saudi arabia, united arab emirates and friends in the region have assured us of their strong support of u.s. acts. >> still, the memory of iraq and concern about getting bogged down in an open-ended conflict resulted in a narrower authorization of force at the senate foreign relations committee. the updated resolution gives the president a 60-day window with a possible 30-day extension and exclusively rules out the use of ground forces. while passage out of committee is expected, hours ago senator john mccain announced he would not support the authorization in
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its current form criticizing its fundamental ability to change things on the ground. it is unclear whether failure in congress would affect the administration's mandate to proceed. indeed, it is a hypothetical that the president himself seemed loathe to contemplate. >> i believe that congress will approve it. i think it's very important that congress say that we mean what we say and i think we will be stronger as a country in our response if the president and congress does it together. i do not believe that i was required to take this to congress, but i did not take this to congress just because it was an empty exercise. i think it's important to have congress's support on it. >> joining me today chairman jason wiseberg and dexter
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fillkins. joining me is chuck todd who is also the host of msnbc's ""the daily rundown."" chuck is traveling with the president in stockholm sweden. we know we have a delay. i know you commented on this on twitter. the president's line that his credibility is not at stake, that this is not a red line that he created but one that the international community determined, what do you make about that of the white house sales to the congress? >> reporter: this is an argument about depersonalizing it a little bit and what the white house has been saying and they said this this saturday, this is about the chemical weapons treaty, that a majority of the nations in the world had signed on to. syria was a notable exception when it came to the chemical weapons treaty that was passed back in the '90s. that is -- when you hear him talk about international norms, that's what you're talking about. i asked a direct question in a background briefing with senior officials on saturday.
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would we be in this place had the president not used the phrase red line. they pushed back on that saying, no, we'd be in the exact same place because it's an international norm that was violated. not going to have the chemical weapons treaty and that we'd be having the same exact debate, maybe some of the rhetoric would be different but the debate would be exactly the same. they believe the president would be falling there. this was the president's attempt to say hey stop making this about me personally and we know that that is an issue sometimes in some of these votes with house republicans where they may be in favor of the policy in general but if it's viewed as somehow about the president personally, then it becomes a political hot potato for some on the right. so that's another part of this. this is a tough coalition that the white house is trying to put together in congress to get this passed. the senate seems to be an easier place to do this. the house much tougher and obviously they know that nancy
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pelosi has the ability to get as many house democrats as they probably need but it's hard. it's not going to be easy. it's going to be a lot of arm twisting. they'd like to see more republicans who they know philosophically are probably closer to the president when it comes to dealing with this issue get there and one of the ways to get there is to make this less about barack obama and more about the united states -- the president of the united states, the u.s. congress, etc. >> dexter, there was an article on "the new york times" this week talking about the president in a box of his own making and focusing on sort of the red line and how that has effectively painted him into a corner. the president making the case today that that wasn't his red line, right? but there is something to be said for how much he is owning this decision and how much of it is driven by him and how much he will get either the gains or the losses. i guess as someone who's been to the region and knows syria, how
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much of this is fueled by an international outcry? how much do you get a sense that regional actors want something done about this, that western powers would intervene were it not for american leadership? >> well, not so much western powers but other countries in the middle east are intervening massively. saudi arabia is arming the rebels, qatar is arming the rebels, iran, russia. basically been everybody but us. but i think the president is right in the sense that of course it's his red line but it's also true that 98 countries signed the chemical weapons treaty. it's the same old story, how many countries are willing to act. and it turns out it's us. is it usually us and a handful of other countries? >> us, turkey, france, saudi arabia, the ua. that may sound like the anemic coalition of the willing, but i would make the case that
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turkoglturkey and the uae are more important than for example poland. >> look at the alternative. the alternative is that he just keeps gassing people. >> assad? >> yeah. and we just stand back and watch. the alternative is pretty horrifying. >> jacob, i want to talk about something that chuck touched on, which is selling this to congress. it may be the house democrats that push this over the finish line, if you will. the difficulty that nancy pelosi i think finds herself in which is bringing together what she must do, which is a strong coalition of democrats to vote this thing through. chris matthews had a lot to say about that this morning. let's take a listen to what he had to say. >> so you have a minority republican vote and then pelosi has to make up the difference for the minority caucus. she will have to come in with a super majority of democrats to support their democratic president. this is a wicked position they've put her in. i think the democrats are going
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to be forced to sacrifice men and women who really, really don't want to vote for this. they're going to have to vote for this to save the president's hide. that's a very bad position to put your party. >> do you think this is a bad position to put your party in if you're president obama? >> he was saying this morning his position was the same that the first bush took at the time of the first gulf war where he said i'll go to congress but i don't really need congress's position. i think it may in fact amount to the same thing. imagine that congress voted no. would it be possible for obama to take military action? i don't think so. i don't think it would be advisable and i don't think he would do it. it's a foregone conclusion. they have to get the votes together one way or the other. i think they will. it speaks to their almost universal ambivalence about this ambition. double negative. we can't do nothing. we can't not go to congress. you're hemmed in on all sides. talking about being in a box.
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i don't think it's a box of oba obama's own making. i think it's a box that the whole idea of humanitarian intervention is in now. we don't want to repeat the mistakes of iraq. libya and egypt are additional examples. there are likely to be consequences. the use of chemical weapons going undealt with is abhorrent. >> chuck, i want to ask you a little bit about the president's response as to the question of whether he would proceed without congressional approval, which was effectively a nonresponse as jake points out. it's this idea that it's important to go to congress. we need to have congress on our side. it will be much stronger for having congress's input on this. if congress says no, do you think he can do this if congress says no? >> can he legally do it? he could. would he? i'm with jake, i think no way does he do that.
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talk about destroying the relationship between the executive branch and legislative branch if you do something like this, if you sort of go against the wilf congress on something like this. i think it politically makes it near impossible for him to do it. again, he could. he could legally try it. i think it would be really unpopular. this geese back to the conversation we're all having about syria, we're all paying attention to what's going on in syria. this has been a long civil war. i think a vast majority of the country, while they are aware of some parts of what's going on in syria, i think there isn't a lot of information out there and that's why the knee jerk reaction in all of these polls is the default is don't do it, right? that is really the default answer of the american public. as you give them more information, we saw that in our poll, they can come around to it but they need all of that information. what does that mean? that means the president has the
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burden of proof, that he probably needs to go out there and probably needs to do this in primetime in some form or another this weekend and walk the american public through why he wants to do this, why he feels he has to do this. why is it an international norm. literally step by step show the public. maybe you bring out charts. maybe you bring out pictures but i think it's going to take something like that. i know for a fact members of congress are telling the white house they want cover from the president himself. they want him out there doing this. they need him out there making this case. boehner himself is calling for it and boehner usually is the last guy that says he wants the president doing a speech to the nation. he wants it. i think that this is on the president now. it's all on him. he has to go do this. provide the cover for congress to give him this vote. >> dexter, what do you make of that, the idea that the president needs to make the case to the american people. lack of fluency around the dynamics in syria and really an awareness of what's been going on there for over two years.
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>> yeah. i mean, that's true but, i mean, all you really have to do is play some of those videos that are out there on youtube. they're horrifying. i mean, there's one i'm thinking of in particular of a young girl, she's like 6 years old, waking up realizing that her parents are dead surprised that she's still alive having been gassed. the emotional appeal is extraordinary. i think the concern is that this is a messy war and that there's not that much that we can do and that we might get dragged into it. i think that's the dilemma that the white house has which is what exactly do we do? we don't want to decapitate the regime. we have a power vac in the middle of the war. what do we do? i think that's the dilemma that they face. >> what is president obama going to do, present all of this horrific evidence and say for that reason we're going to make
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every reason not to kill assad? he's ham strung this crazy way that he doesn't want responsibility for what comes after if the regime falls. really this permission he's asking for is for a symbolic intervention to make a show of force that suggests that we're not going to not respond but even if this resulted in another provocation, another use of chemical weapons, would we then be willing to depose the regime? obama wants to do something but he doesn't want responsibility for what might happen if his intervention destabilizes the situation. >> chuck, before we let you go, it seems to me that part of the problem with having the president go out there and make his case for the american people is he will have to outline a series of steps. a lot of those will be contingent on the best case scenario developing, which is to say assad is out, the deter rents work, then we get out. a lot of the public would be highly skeptical that the cards will fall in that exact order.
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>> reporter: right. there is this fear, it's like what's the rationale. i thought jacob exactly hit on the dilemma that they're in. for instance, let's look at john kerry for a minute. the rhetoric that he's been using, very strong rhetoric does not match the military campaign that has been outlined that's going to be used, right? talking about a madman. the president himself made reference to hitler here during his press conference, references made by kerry to hitler. when you're making those references and then suddenly your military campaign, we don't want to upset the apple cart, we're just trying to send a warning shot here, so it doesn't match what they're doing. i think that that's been the difficulty here as well, which is what is -- and i think that's where the public is totally skeptical. this is a public of baby boomers who remember advisors to vietnam turned into war.
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this is another generation who remembers iraq and how this was a mission accomplished after three months and it turned out to drag on for years. there's slippery slope aspects. to me, it's no wonder they're skeptical. the point is that the president, he's putting a lot of his political juice on the line here. what's remaining of his political capitol is all on the line. he has to do everything it takes to get it across the fun fish line. it's incumbent for him to go to the nation and explain this. right now the default position is skepticism. >> thank you to nbc's chuck todd over in stockholm. as the white house builds its case for military intervention? syria, president obama campaigns for domestic support yaefr seas. we'll discuss the latest options next on "now." ever ybody has different investment objectives, ever ideas, goals, appetite for risk.
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i can say with confidence chemical weapons were used. nobody is really disputing that chemical weapons were used. the accumulation of evidence gives us high confidence that assad carried this out. when i see 400 children subjected to gas, over 1400 innocent civilians dying senselessly in an environment in which you already have tens of thousands dying and we have the opportunity to take some action that is meaningful, even if it doesn't solve the entire problem -- >> that was president obama in sweden just hours ago leading
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the effort overseas to shore up international support. tomorrow he'll travel to russia for the g-20 summit. the president's push will no doubt clash with vladimir putin. in an interview yesterday putin said it seemed, quote, completely ridiculous that the syrian government would have used chemical weapons on its own people and that there still was not sufficient proof to justify a military strike. if, in fact, there is a u.s. military strike, put continue said, quote, we have our ideas about what we will do and how we will do it in case the situation develops toward the use of force or otherwise. we have our plan. meanwhile, faced with the prospect of the potential military strike, the syrian government appears to be scrambling. the ap is reporting that the assad regime in damascus is hiding military hardware and shifting troops out of bases and into civilian areas. hours ago reuters reported that former syrian defense minister
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has defected and is now in turkey. for its part syrian state tv is denying these reports. joining us now is former chief of staff at the department of defense and cia jeremy bash. jeremy, i wanted to ask you, we talked last week, you and i, on another program about the efficacy of our plan and now that you have sort of a curtailed senate authorization of force which has not passed out of committee but is likely to, i wonder if you think given the narrower lane in which we presumably may be operating, do you think it is enough to change the situation to the point we need it changed, whatever that is? >> thanks for having me, alex. i do and i think, look, it's not an all or nothing proposition, either do nothing or invade syria. what the president's contemplating here based on the advice of the joint chiefs of staff and the secretary of defense is a limited operation that would do two important things. first, it would send an important signal to assad. it would say, look, we're trying
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to punish you and we're going to hit things you value. potentially your air defense, even your divisions that are involved in chemical weapons. so first of all it's a big message. it's kind of a big stick. second is it's going to degrade some of his capabilities. you mentioned that he's disbursing his troops. well, that actually works to our advantage because of course he's trying to wage a war in his own country. so some of the buildup here actually is working to our advantage as he disburses troops, as his regime fractures if that report about a defection turns out to be accurate, and as he basically girds for a military strike. it will be very hard to hide things. there's been concern about him hiding things as we telegraph what we might do. he can't put buildings and big installations underground. >> dexter, i want to ask you about assad and sort of what makes him run and what this essentially might -- the psychology of someone who might hide chemical weapons in
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residential areas. if you need proof that this man is capable of inflicting pain on his own citizens, the notion that he would go to the suburbs to hide chemical weaponry would be a proof point in that column. it's written assad would remain defiant in the face of an attack. he would probably step up the violence. the regimes iranian patrons would increase their investment in the conflict. syrian opposition groups would welcome a steady stream of foreign fighters. this would heighten syrian's political divisions pulling the country apart. what do you make of that? >> look, we don't know. we don't know what assad would do. we can game this out. i think what we have in syria is a terrible, horrible mess, right? on one hand you have this murder rouse regime. on the other you have a very fragmented opposition that's
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dominated by the most radical fighters, and that's -- you know, that's the tricky thing to get involved in. and i think that's what the concerns are here. but we don't know what assad is going to do. i mean, what would be interesting -- i mean, look. you can speculate all you want, but what if the regime were degraded in such a way that you did start to have defect shuns, you started to have the sunnis around damascus start to rise up. he might fold. he might become defiant. we don't really know yet. >> jake, i guess i wonder when we talk about what assad will do, the whole sort of -- the thing that i have a hard time reconciling is part of the reason syria is so abhorrent, we talk about the length of this conflict, 100 million dead, refugees, people floating into the areas. that's not why we're going in. we're going in because a red line was crossed. we're going in because an international norm, an international agreement was
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broken never minding that syria didn't sign onto the agreement. we're not going in because it's a humanitarian disaster. let's assume we do cripple his chemical weaponry. is there still a question of what other tools he may have and what degree do we pull back and let him continue to use if he is still in power those tools and the carnage continues. where december that lea-- where does that leave the united states? >> we are going in for humanitarian reasons. chemical weapons are the pretexts rather than the reason. i think when obama drew a red line -- used the red line expression he was already responding to the problem that we had no effective way to answer what assad was doing to his own people. >> so this is our official way of not sanking what is going on as well as setting a precedent that every time there are mass casualties we need to intervene, is that what you're saying? >> it would be nice if they
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genuinely enforced the norm that certain weapons could not be used and there would be an international response if there were. i think the irony you pointed out is correct. we care about -- we should care about assad killing and oppre oppressing his own people, not necessarily what weapons he uses. he's killed far more people using conventional weapons than he has chemical weapons. >> the big question is that to really end this conflict there needs to be some sort of political change, some sort of agreement against assad out of power. and the question is whether this brings us any closer to that. the nation writes not in support of military intervention in syria but instead makes the case that instead of bombing syria, the u.s. should join russia in its effort to renew the geneva negotiations. a peace agreement isn't feasible now but if the u.s. and russia work together they could use their combined influence to choke off the flow of arms from the outside and contain the
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conflict as they work towards a cease fire. if they don't, syria's disintegration will spread throughout the region. i wonder what you make of that. the president will have an off fight with vladimir putin around the g-20. is there any hope that the russians may work with us on any level in syria? putin says he has a plan. >> i don't know, alex. it hasn't really worked or hasn't developed in that direction for the past 30 months. though many people have focused about how intensively secretary kerry has pushed this case for a limited military action, just as intense sifively he and the pret have gotten behind a diplomatic effort which hasn't yielded much. i think it's good that the resolution that congress is considering contains a line that says we recognize the only way a syrian civil war and the political issues there will be solved is if all parties come to the table in a negotiated settlement as you noted.
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i think dexter and jake make good points, which is we really don't know what will be on the other side of our limited military action. assad could lash out. he could have an ally like iran lash out. he could have hezbollah lash out. there are risks to that, but one thing we do know is that if we do nothing at all, if we just stay completely silent, assad will certainly declare victory. he may be emboldened and he may do this again. that's common sense. i think we understand that that will happen. it's true, there are risks of action, but i think in this case the risk of inaction really outweigh the risks of action. >> dexter, one last question about this regime because we have news that the defense minister may have defect ted an may be in turkey. yesterday they intershrewd the syrian representative to the united nations bashar jafari. he said we are not war mongers,
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we are a peaceful nation. the gory civil war that has laid waste to syria has taken place in a different realm saying how assad is on instagram. they continue to have these sort of proforma sessions. this could be a real sign that there is perhaps the dawning realization that taking the party line perhaps may no longer be able. especially the images you have are coming out and become sort of common currency exchanged by the international audience. >> yeah. i mean, i think this kind of answers the earlier -- it answers the editorial of the nation about having a political settlement. there's not going to be a political settlement here until assad is dead really. i mean, this is not -- this is not how wars like this end. they're fighting it out. they're not going to sit down at the table and shake hands. they're going to fight it out until it's over.
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it's going to keep going unless the regime comes apart. >> do you think that a possible defection like that at the high level would be the beginning of the unraveling knowing what you do about the regime? >> the interesting thing about syria, of course, it's run by a mafia basically. they're all alawites which is a minority. it is a mafia. these guys have known each other for a long time. most of them are related. very, very tightly knit. so if the defense minister leaves, they'll get another one, but you'd need to panic. >> defense ministry. we need to disable that. we have to leave it there. former chief of staff at the defense department, jeremy bash, thanks so much for your time. >> thank you. >> thank you to dexter. coming up, making the case for war albeit without any facts. we will look at the reemergence of a donald rumsfeld and the new documentary about bush's controversial press secretary just ahead.
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convicted kidnapper ariel castro was dead in his cell. we'll have the latest on that next. [thinking] i'm still working. he's retired. i hope he's saving. i hope he saved enough. who matters most to you says the most about you. at massmutual we're owned by our policyowners, and they matter most to us. whether you're just starting your 401(k) or you are ready for retirement, we'll help you get there. a writer and a performer. ther, i'm also a survivor of ovarian and uterine cancers. i even wrote a play about that. my symptoms were a pain in my abdomen and periods that were heavier and longer than usual for me.
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i am not a violent person. i simply kept them there without them being able to leave. you're calling me a monster. i'm not a monster, i'm a normal person, i am just sick. >> last month ariel castro was sentenced to life in prison plus 1,000 years. he would serve just 33 days of that sentence. castro was found hanged in his cell last night apparently by fashioning a rope out of his bed sheet. the 53-year-old former school bus driver had been convicted of kidnapping, raping and imprisoning three women.
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john yang is live in cleveland. john, what do they know about the prison and the prison conditions where something like this could happen? >> reporter: well, alex, he was in a prison intake center. he was still being processed in. he was not at the prison where he was going to serve his term. he was in what's called protective custody. he was kept in a cell by himself. guards were checking on him every 30 minutes on a staggered schedule so that he didn't know when exactly they'd come by. officials have promised a thorough investigation to how this happened. his lawyer also wants to know why he wasn't on a suicide watch when he was held at the cuyahoga county jail here in cleveland before trial, they wouldn't even give him his reading glasses because they feared he might harm himself, but according to his attorney, there was no -- there were no such protections at the prison intake center where he was and where he
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committed suicide. the lawyer also wants to know what sort of psychological evaluations were being conducted, but so far that's all going to be subject to the investigation. prison officials are not commenting, alex. >> nbc's john yang. thanks for the update. we are just getting new information from the house hearing on syria. secretary of state john kerry hinted that a classified session would give new evidence obtained today that sarin gas was used in syria. also, senators emerging from today's senate foreign relations committee classified briefings said they expect to vote -- the committee vote today on an authorization to use force in syria. senator rand paul spoke at a stakeout on capitol hill saying he expects a vote on the markup in the next hour. coming up, former president bill clinton revised his wildly successful role as secretary of explaining stuff. this time as the obama administration's explainer of the affordable care act. we will discuss the great american rollout and the return of professor clinton just ahead. .
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acclaimed plim maker aerial morris is putting another controversial u.s. defense secretary under the microscope. a decade after releasing "the fog of war" in which they admitted that vietnam was a mistake, that was a documentary on president bush's secretary of defense, donald rumsfeld. >> why the obsession with iraq and saddam? >> well, you love that word obsession. i can see the glow in your face when you say it. >> i'm an obsessive person. >> are you? i'm not. i'm cool and measured. >> "the unknown known" features rumsfeld's principle role in that decision making for going into iraq. including the quote much
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improved position in the region rumsfeld claimed the u.s. would have if saddam hussein was ousted from power. after the break as the clock ticks down on the official rollout of the aca, the affordable care act they double down on the ado, that would be anything but obama care. we'll discuss that with frank fore and josh bare rows join us. coming up on "now." grandpa was my dad a good athlete? no. oh dad, you remember my friend alex? yeah. the one that had the work done... good to see you. where do we go when we die? the ground. who's your girlfriend? his name is chad. and that's where babies come from. [ male announcer ] sometimes being too transparent can be a bad thing. this looks good! [ male announcer ] but not with the oscar mayer deli fresh clear pack. it's what you see is what you get food. it's oscar mayer. bjorn earns unlimited rewards for his small business. take these bags to room 12 please.
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this is the country that pioneered innovation in every other area of our national life. you cannot make me believe that we have to tolerate this from now to the end of eternity. i think we will become more competitive and healthier if we do this right. >> president obama has an old friend helping him roll out his signature legislative accomplishment. former president, bill clinton. the man president obama called the secretary of explaining stuff just wrapped up a speech
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at his own presidential library in arkansas to taut the benefits of the affordable care act. this comes after they're finding new and creative ways to avoid implementing the law and providing health insurance to their residents. seven states are refusing to enforce the law which includes provisions of barring insurance companies from rejecting patients with pre-existing conditions. missouri is so opposed that they have a ballot measure barring any state or government official to help implement it. the reason for the resistance. beyond the symbolic appeals of the aca around 42, as of june outside groups have spent nearly half a billion dollars trying to defeat the law. just today they had a countdown clock to the obama care train wreck. the first day of the enrollment period for 40 million uninsured americans. given all of this, it's little
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wonder that four in ten americans believe the law has been repealed, overturned or simply are unsure whether it remains law of the land. joining us is politics editor for business insider, josh barro. from washington, editor of "the new republic, frank fore. i have to ask, how effective do you think bill clinton will be as an ambassador for the aca given the approaching date? >> i think they need the guy. the administration has lost it a little bit on obama care. there are all sorts of glitches that occur in implementing a law that is as complicated and sweeping as the affordable care act. if you get stuck and mired in the little details, it doesn't look like things are going well. when you step back and look at the bigger picture, the real success story that the administration can tell and there are many things they need to prepare people for. bringing in a guy like bill clinton who is good at repositioning liberal policies
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as having much broader appeal is a necessity at this stage. you know, one other irony that i kind of delight in is that this is the type of speech that bill clinton would have probably have liked to have given himself sometime in the mid '90s so he gets his shot now. >> yes. he's giving it, josh, as the clinton presidential library in arkansas, full ownership of this. the only detail is that it's called obama care and not clinton care. i guess i wonder in terms of the messaging on this, there's been a huge amount of money poured in to tell americans that obama care is going to be the worst thing that has ever happened to our constitutional democracy. that said, you have bill clinton out there. you have the baltimore ravens to aid the obama care rollout in maryland. you have katy perry tweeting about it. ultimately a kaiser poll tells us that they're much more likely to listen to official sources of information. basically these theories are
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good but ultimately it will come down to state and local officials saying sign here, this is what you get going through the enrollment process. >> i think that's right. i think you can't do it until enrollment is open. it's difficult to get people to pay attention to this issue in the abstract when the benefits are not yet available to them. part of what happened with obama care is not that it's a large and complex enterprise because so many compromises have been made along the way to stitch together a system for universal coverage. it has lots of disparate components. some people need to go on medicaid. some people will be buying subsidized insurance. some people buying unsubsidized insurance. it makes sense people have no idea that will happen to them. one problem is a lot of people, you know, the affordable care act is not the free care act. i think a lot of people will be surprised when they find out if you're a single adult making $35,000 a year, you'll be eligible for a subsidized program. you'll have to pay $3,000 which
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is a major discount off of the market price of a plan like that with y but it's a substantial part of a plan. a lot of people will be relieved that now they have access to coverage. a lot of people will be surprised that they're being asked to forward a significant portion of their income. >> it's not just -- i mean, the piece -- the -- it's more than just the affordable care piece. your children have coverage until they're 26. there is no denial of coverage because of pre-existing benefits. i think that's a point in the ledger for obama care. jake, you look like you wanted to get in there. i don't want to cut off your point, but in terms of the outreach and the effort, i think part of the reason we're seeing such vehement resistance from the republicans is that once the enrollment period has begun, once people have a practical sort of interface with the law and they see its benefits, it's much harder to be the republican that says i don't want insurance carriers to be able to deny
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people with pre-existing conditions. i don't want them to be able to. i don't want americans to be able to cover their children. then it's concrete opposition to things that americans like. >> yeah. exactly. in practical terms it's very hard to get benefits and once you get them it's very hard to take them away. these aspects are going to be popular. nondiscrimination against pre-existing conditions. children covered until 26. republicans i think understand that once that stuff is enshrined it will be tough to be removed. where the battle is fought is who signs up and who is enrolled. it's hard unless healthy young people register. the question is whether this dell ulg, the half a billion dollars that's spent is going to deter people from signing up or whether it's simply created this kind of haze of ill will around the program that will be dispelled when it starts to work. >> you know, on that note, frank, there are a lot of -- there's a mixed bag of republican governors who have
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said yes to this, who have said no to this. i think the effort in missouri is insane, the idea that there's a ballot measure to prevent local officials from implementing the law of the land. what do you think happens to that rhetoric in republican statehouses when neighboring states are expanding their medicaid roll and getting access to health care, young americans are getting access to health care. does this disappear into the night? >> i think so. i think a lot of this -- there is, as you pointed out earlier, a tremendous amount of spending that is emanating from groups in washington that's driving a lot of these efforts into the places that -- the states that you point to. that money is going to dry up at a certain point, largely when the program -- when people are enrolled and the program starts to function smoothly after a lot of these initial hiccups and after the gazillion repeal bills go down in flames. at that point i think it dissipates just the same sort of
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way that opposition to social security dissipated over time and it becomes a crank -- a more crank position and more fringe position. >> josh, let's talk a little bit about the clinton piece. i think it's interesting that clinton is sort of coming to i won't say the president's rescue, but is doing him a solid as it were. this is also part of the larger clinton portfolio of being on the public stage just enough on certain issues potentially in advance of 2016. do you think this helps hillary clinton in any measurable way? >> i think further involvement by bill clinton may help hillary clinton. i think the speech he gave today was 70 minutes long, had a lot of like broad thinking about -- >> telling his people what they loved. >> he talks a long time. >> right. he gave that speech at the democratic national convention. it was 60 minutes. it was 20 minutes longer than it was supposed to be. it was a great speech even
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though it had a lot of wonky policy contexts. he got people to care about things in the republican platform that obama had not been able to explain why they should be unpopularment t. the hope was that they could catch that. i don't think you'll get a speech like this at the clinton presidential library in the dead of summer. the former president can be a real asset in rolling this out. i think he has to find a way to be a little bit pithier and practical in the way he talks about it. yeah, there's always an eye toward the future for hillary clinton. >> maybe he needs help from the secretary of really good campaigning. editor of the new republic, frank foer, thank you. i'll be joined tomorrow by david korn, tommy veeter and an interview with former congressman and presidential candidate, ron paul. follow us on twitte
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twitter @nowwithalex. "andrea mitchell reports" is next. hing from our marketing partners, the media and millions of fans on social media can be a challenge. that's why we partnered with hp to build the new nascar fan and media engagement center. hp's technology helps us turn millions of tweets, posts and stories into real-time business insights that help nascar win with our fans.
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right now on "andrea mitchell reports", in stockholm president obama is confronting them on the use of chemical weapons, a challenge for the world, not just the white house. >> i didn't set a red line, the world set a red line. the second draft happening now on the hill. meetings in both chambers to discuss the resolution to authorize u.s. led airstrikes. the house is limiting the president's authority. >> it is tailored, narrow in both scope and breadth to ensure that there are no american troops on the ground and it has a time limitation so at the same time giving the president the wherewithal to punish assad for the use of chemical weapons and to send a global message. i think it hits the sweet spot as best as possible. >> senator john mccain wants a


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